With the rising costs of heating oil and gas, more and more people appreciate a fireplace or stove to heat their living space in the cold season. The quality of the firewood should not be underestimated and an important criterion for a good calorific value is the storage of the logs. In this article, we explain what is important when it comes to storage and reveal helpful tricks.
In addition to the type of wood, the degree of drying determines which properties the wood develops during burning. Since dry wood burns best, you should put firewood as early as possible. There are a few aspects to consider in order to be well prepared for the heating season.
The best firewoods: hardwoods or conifers?
All hardwoods are particularly suitable, but they are relatively expensive. This includes all deciduous trees such as beech, maple, cherry, ash and oak. These types of wood are all comparable in terms of their calorific value, although some differences can be found during combustion.
- Oak: increased flying sparks, small flame, glows for a long time, but requires high temperatures for this
- Birch: has a short burn time, essential oils in the wood color the flame blue
- Beech: is easy to ignite, develops a lot of embers and therefore burns the longest
Softwoods are cheaper and just as often end up in German stoves as firewood. The soft woods include spruce, fir, pine and Douglas fir. The resin, which is contained in coniferous wood and also in birch wood, causes strong flying sparks when burned. For this reason, these types of wood are rather unsuitable for open fireplaces. With closed chimneys or stoves, however, the conifers give off a very pleasant scent and the resin creates the typical crackling in the fire. Since soft types of wood burn faster and you have to add more often, there is also more ash. For this reason, and because the fireplace can soot more because of the high resin content, many prefer rather hard firewood.
Tip: Although spruce does not burn very long, it develops very high temperatures and therefore even has a cleaning effect on the stove.
Since conifers ignite much faster than hardwood, they are mainly used for lighting. Softwoods and hardwoods must generally be well dried out – both for lighting and for burning. This is why the correct storage of firewood is so important.
Store firewood properly
It is best to store firewood in a place that
- sunny and dry,
- well ventilated
- and is protected from the elements.
A house wall facing south, for example, is an ideal place. However, store the logs at least 5-10 cm away from the house wall in order to ensure optimal air circulation. You can also stack the firewood completely freely on top of each other, store it under a roof (for example on the garden shed) or in the form of a log. The latter is a traditional way of bin. The logs are layered to form a round structure that narrows towards the top. You can find detailed building instructions for renting wood here. The storage area for the firewood should be at least large enough so that you can store it for one to two years. This is the only way to always have well-dried wood for heating.
So that the firewood does not draw moisture from below, you should build a base made of stones, euro slats or squared timber for every storage variant. Roofs protect the wood from the weather from above. Do not cover the wood with plastic sheeting or the like. They are impermeable to air and moisture often accumulates, which stimulates the formation of mold.
In principle, you can also store firewood in the cellar. However, you should only keep firewood here that has been dried for a while and is only slightly damp. In closed rooms, mold forms very quickly due to the poor air circulation and the wood begins to rot.
Tip: Firewood may have a maximum moisture content of 20 percent in order to be used for heating. You can check this value with a simple moisture meter. On average, it takes two to three years for the logs to dry to the desired wood moisture content. This number differs depending on the type of wood and storage location. A lot of older wood stocks are just as unsuitable for heating as wet wood. The gas-rich components in the wood evaporate over time and the wood then loses its calorific value. So don’t store the firewood too short, but not too long either.
Sawing firewood: from tree trunk to log
In order to be able to use the wood to light the stove, it must first be split into logs and cut. If you get fresh wood from the forest, you should process it as soon as possible, as damp wood is easier to split than dried wood. There are various helpers to shred the logs or large blocks of wood:
- Circular and chainsaws
- log splitter
- or the classic ax.
The latter, however, requires good physical fitness and also takes up most of the time. Buying a splitter or a saw is particularly worthwhile for large quantities of wood.
And this is how it works: Logs up to a length of 30 cm only have to be cut in half. For longer logs, it is advisable to quarter the wood. The splitting creates triangular blocks that dry much faster than round tree trunks. Basically, it is an advantage if the billets are all roughly the same size, as this makes them easier to stack. But also remember to produce some smaller wooden pegs that can be used for lighting.
Buy firewood: an overview of firewood prices
You can also buy ready-to-use firewood as an alternative to your own processing. Many regional suppliers even deliver the wood to your home. The prices depend on the type of wood and the size of the logs. Hardware stores and garden centers also offer already cut firewood for sale.
units. The problem is that when the logs are poured, the logs fall wildly and large voids are often created. Therefore the actual amount of wood can vary here. The price for fresh hardwood currently averages $ 66 per SRM; For wood that has already dried, you have to reckon with around 80 dollars per SRM. The prices for softwood are a little lower: you can get a cubic meter from $ 52 for fresh wood and $ 66 for dry wood.
Now it is only a matter of stacking the wood correctly so that it can dry out until winter.
Tip: Cold wood is much more difficult to ignite. Therefore, on very cold, icy days, store the firewood a few days in advance in the living room. There it can slowly take on room temperature and the residual moisture contained in the wood also escapes.
Stack firewood correctly
Always store the wood with the bark facing down. This will prevent the logs from rotting. In addition, the narrow end of the stack always belongs to the west side, the weather side, aligned. If you align the firewood with the long side here, the wood is heavily exposed to different weather conditions. This should be avoided at all costs. The stacking is then done in two simple steps.
- In the bottom row, put one log next to the other. Fill in the full width of your wood store. The logs should not be too close together so that the wood is well ventilated. This is the only way to properly dry the firewood.
- In the second row you start again at the front, but now lay the wood across the lower logs. Depending on the length, two to three billets fit side by side on the first row. In this way you build a stable structure that can withstand wind and weather. So-called stacking aids, which ensure stability, especially at the edges, offer an even more secure hold.
If you want to store your wood decoratively, you should choose wood rental. The round wooden pyramids are a real eye-catcher on large properties. Since such timber heaps are usually free, the timber must be protected from moisture by an air-permeable cover. Make sure, however, that the tarpaulin is only placed loosely so that enough air can still circulate.
A colorfully mixed wall made of different woods is even more decorative. If you use different types of wood for heating, you can stack them nicely to form a living-looking wall. With a little creativity and skill, you can even build patterns or motifs into the wall. There are no limits to your imagination.